When Charlie Morton went down with an injury last April, it was hoped that it was just a usual hamstring injury that would keep him out for a few weeks and he'd return to the rotation. Four days after the injury though, the Phillies announced that he had torn the hamstring and would miss the rest of the season, scuttling plans that the Phillies had for Morton.
When Morton was acquired from Pittsburgh last December, it was hoped that he would be able to provide a strong veteran presence in the rotation. That would give the Phillies the chance to give some of their young pitching more time to develop in the minors if they decided to deal Morton at the deadline. The other option was that if he returned to his earlier form, he could be a part of the rotation moving forward. Neither of those things happened when Morton snapped the hamstring running out a bunt.
The 32-year old was paid $8-million last season and had a $9.5-million option for 2017 that the Phillies declined, deciding instead to pay him the $1-million buyout that his contract included. By declining the option, Morton becomes a free agent and is eligible to sign with any team during the offseason.
Morton posted a 3.26 ERA in 2013 and followed that up with a 3.72 ERA the following season for Pittsburgh. He slid to a 4.81 ERA in 2015, making him available for minor leaguer David Whitehead in a deal last winter. The Phillies hoped that a change of scenery and input from different coaches might help to get him back to the numbers he posted earlier in his career. Whitehead split last season between short-season Bristol and Double-A Altoona, posting a combined 5-8, 7.52 mark in the Pirates organization.
Last season, Morton made just four starts for the Phillies, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA.